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CIO Survey: EHRs are Still Slow, Time-Consuming

October 30, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Despite significant progress in electronic health record (EHR) adoption, the road is still paved with pitfalls for many providers, according to new analysis from research firm Frost & Sullivan.

The survey was in conjunction with the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME), and primarily targeted CIOs working in mid-to-large sized community hospitals. Frequently highlighted customer pain points include: slow and inaccurate information retrieval from EHRs as well as difficulty in finding and reviewing data, both of which result in productivity losses for clinician end-users as well as potential risks to patient safety; inability to create targeted queries or easily access unstructured data such as clinician notes; and time-consuming data entry tasks.

Specifically, when it came to searching EHRs, respondents said that EHRs are too slow, and the rudimentary search functionality and poor usability of them are more important causes of search problems than lack of end-user training or clinician dislike of technology.

“U.S. regulatory authorities will take notice of the growing chorus of complaints about EHR usability, resulting in a push to devote more resources to solving this issue,” Frost & Sullivan connected health principal analyst Nancy Fabozzi said in a news release that accompanied the report. “Further, the high levels of end-user frustration with usability present strong business opportunities for pioneering technology vendors.”

New vendors are emerging to address these challenges. Innovation will most likely come from companies with deep expertise in advanced enterprise search technology. Natural language processing (NLP) and visualization dashboards are the technologies most suitable to improve EHR usability, according to the analysis.

“Data visualization dashboards will enable end-users to quickly understand data trends, significantly enhancing ease-of-use by streamlining and organizing vast amounts of data,” added Fabozzi. “The ability to triangulate EHR data with data from other sources is also crucial to ensure access to the right medical information for healthcare providers.”

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